Last night Conan O’Brien said goodbye to late night TV after 28 years, wrapping up his TBS show Conan with a star-studded farewell. In addition to the announced guest Jack Black—a longtime O’Brien regular—Conan was joined virtually by Will Ferrell, who was O’Brien’s final guest on both Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show, but couldn’t keep the tradition alive yesterday due to shooting a movie in Boston.
The biggest surprise guest came in the show’s cold open, though, in a segment that paid tribute to one of O’Brien’s most celebrated pre-talk show jobs. The finale began with Conan O’Brien taking his exit interview with TBS, as conducted by none other than Homer Simpson, animated and everything.
O’Brien, of course, was an early writer on The Simpsons, penning classic episodes “Marge vs. the Monorail” and “Homer Goes to College,” among others. He left the show when he took over Late Night from David Letterman, but later made a memorable appearance on “Bart Gets Famous,” aka the “I didn’t do it” episode. Despite his relatively short stint on The Simpsons, he’s credited as one of the writers who took the show in a more absurd direction after its first season, and helped create the voice that would define The Simpsons over the last 30 years.
That all came full circle last night, with O’Brien appearing in that iconic Matt Groening art style during his back-and-forth with Homer. O’Brien was reportedly in the Simpsons office when he got the phone call about become Late Night’s host back in 1993, so it’s fitting that his talk show career winds down with a callback to that job. He’s not retiring from show business—he’ll still make travel specials for TBS, and has a variety show coming on HBO Max—but last night marked the end (for now) of the job that O’Brien will always be most associated with, and it was nice to see his old Simpsons colleagues pay tribute to him.
Check out the full video below, and if you missed Conan’s farewell, it’s worth tracking down on demand or wherever it’s available.